How to Recognize the Need for Better Teamwork in Your Workplace

Teamwork is a skill that we exercise in many facets of our everyday lives. In work, school, sports, family, etc., the habits of teamwork are used to complete tasks or carry out actions.

However, sometimes the inner workings of what makes a team successful can be a bit tricky to figure out, as there are multiple opinions, habits, and skillsets involved.

In order to successfully work as a team, there are three main types of teamwork:

  • Effective Teamwork
  • Behavioral Teamwork
  • Cognitive Teamwork

When all of these work together, a team is complete with the ability to carry out any task or combat any obstacle present.

The first part of this teamwork triad is Effective Teamwork.
The goal of any team is to have a group of people complete a task or action effectively. In order to do so, there must be complete and clear communication within the group. This ensures that everyone involved understands what is expected of them, and of the other members. When there is clear communication, it avoids confusion, as well as accidental omission of a required aspect within the team.

The second part is Behavioral Teamwork. This feature is composed of five behaviors that contribute to the proper functioning within a team.

  • The first of these is trust. When those in a team are open and honest with one another, “vulnerability-based” trust is involved. This means that members of the team feel comfortable sharing ideas and information within the group without fear of being ridiculed, mocked, or dismissed. Through this trust and openness, multiple ideas can be shared which can provide new and innovative ideas that can help strengthen the group.
  • The second aspect of behavioral teamwork is conflict. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, conflict can actually strengthen a team if handled correctly. If expressed and handled in an open and effective way, conflict can help the team navigate through its strengths and weaknesses, making it more capable to problem solve in the future.
  • Next is commitment, which occurs when there is open, raw conversation that allows all those involved to understand the task at hand. This understanding helps each individual within the team to commit to the task and move forward confidently.
  • The final component are the results. When all of the previous factors work together, the results should be successful in properly completing the necessary tasks.

The third and final component of teamwork is Cognitive Teamwork. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), this component includes “the organized structures that support team members’ ability to acquire, distribute, store, and retrieve critical knowledge.” This is best explained as being the inner workings of the team, which keeps all of the data, knowledge, and resources organized so that the desired task can be completed in the most effective way possible. When done so properly, each member of the team should have access and knowledge of where to look and what to do in order to fulfill the group’s agenda.

Understanding the basic foundations of teamwork can help strengthen a group to its core, making it effective and easily conducted throughout any task or obstacle that is presented. Without these basics, a team could quickly fall apart or complete an action improperly, making more work and difficulty for all members involved. 


Interested in working on your team building skills?
Please contact me at drkatrina@kkjpsych.com for a consultation.


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